Tribute in Memory of the Late Prof. John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills
Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Hull. UK / firstname.lastname@example.org
As mortal beings, death should be the last enemy to be feared of as living organisms. But unfortunately, death has proven to be a tragedy that causes serious emotional damage to people. When death lays its icy hands on a loved one, especially at the inappropriate time, it takes million years for the affected people to come to normal life. It is a spiritual journey that any human being would wish to avoid, but as humans the choice is not ours. Else who would have thought for a minute that our father, mentor, teacher, leader, and of course our dear president would leave us at this crucial period? Who could have even imagined that Prof. Mills, the proud captain of ‘Team B’ would abandon his “Better Ghana” ship in the middle of the sea when Ghanaians are being chased out by the enemies of poverty, ignorance, and disease? Professor Mills, were you not the one who has consistently promised us a very peaceful election in December and hand over power in 2017? Were you not the man who promised us a “Better Ghana” that could ‘better’ the lot of Ghanaians? If so, why do you embark on this sudden spiritual trip of no return when you know that your physical presence will be badly needed? But that is life; it has always not been fair.
I came to know of the late Prof. John Evans Mills in 1997 when he was sworn in as the vice president of the Republic. Having served mother Ghana in various capacities – tax administrator, football administrator, and law lecturer. The late Prof. Mills’ role as the president of Ghana, no doubt, left an imprint on the country’s academia and democratic dispensation. Talk about humour in our body politic and every Ghanaian will attest to the fact that our deceased president’s mispronunciations of economy as “ecomini”; more or less reduced the political tension in Ghana at a point in time.
One legacy that the late Prof. Mills will be remembered for was the special love he developed for his motherland as exemplified in two main areas. Firstly, he was so determined to rid mother Ghana of all past, present, and future public debts in order to make Ghana a debt-free nation not only for the present generation, but for generations unborn. His hard stance on the use of our oil revenue to pay and settle gargantuan judgement debts – Woyome, Waterville, Construction Pioneers, Africa Automobile, and Isofoton and the subsequent dismissal of Martin Amidu to pave way for these payments said it all. Again, Ghana benefited immensely from the late president’s expertise, especially in the area of revenue collection. Under him the country’s tax net was widened to cover every patriotic citizen such as ‘kayayos’ (head potters), truck pushers, and ‘akpteshie’ sellers.
Prof. Mills, your name will forever remain in the minds and hearts of all basic school pupils for your kind-heartedness. You nearly eliminated every school that found itself under the tree; you abolished the shift system in Accra; and you provided school uniforms that could take primary 1 pupil to JHS 2 because of the size. Professor, you made Social Studies lessons very enjoyable at the primary schools because your posters were displayed in every corner of the classroom and coupled with the distribution of drinking cups embossed with your portrait, no primary school child got a lower mark in any Social Studies test conducted by the teachers. Within two years in office, every basic school pupil in Ghana knew that you were the only president and not the main opposition leader.
On a personal note, the late Prof. Mills, together with His Excellency, John Agyekum Kufuor has influenced my life as a teacher, politician, and writer. I am indebted to the two afore-mentioned personalities for my writing skills in that both of them have provided me with the necessary ammunitions to write political articles for the Ghanaian media. Thus, whilst former president Kufuor’s “Positive Change” energised me to publicise the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) record of achievements, the late Prof. Mills’ failed “Better Ghana” Agenda acted as a negative reinforcement for my constructive criticism against his administration. It was therefore not by an accident that my first article entitled; “Kufuor’s Legacy of Development; Second to None”, and my second one; “Mills’ Legacy Mediocrity; Second to Rawlings’” published in November 2009 were centred on their respective achievements. Since then, I have written 43 articles for my readers and I am proud to say that over 98% of these articles were against the then Mills-Mahama NDC administration because of the loopholes I detected. Today, uncontrollable tears are falling from my eyes all because Prof. Mills is a departed soul. Therefore, what else can I say than to let Ghanaians know that Prof. Mills’ demise has been a big blow to me as far as my writings are concerned?
Papa Mills, I really admired you, loved you, and respected you as my colleague teacher and president though you were my political opponent. You were a man of peace, and you lived and died a peaceful man. Ghanaians know that by living a righteous man as “Asomdweehene”, humble and caring president, your place in the Cabinet of Angels would not be in doubt. We, Ghanaians assure you of peaceful general elections before, during, and after December in fulfilment of your vision and legacy. As your friend in the other side of the political divide, my wish was for the Almighty God to grant you eternal life to enable you see how free secondary education could be properly implemented for the Ghanaian child. You were really a good man but just that you found yourself in the wrong company. My advice to you is that never again should you accept a position in a party called the National Democratic Congress (NDC) or trust the people who surround you in case you have a second chance in life.
Uncle Atta, damirifa due, due ne amanehunu! Egya Atta, wode y3n gyaa hwan!! Prof. Nante yie!!! You have indeed created a big vacuum in our political life but we take consolation from the main beneficiary, John Dramani Mahama that God in His infinite wisdom called you, an old man, to pay way for the younger generation. The Ghanaian teachers who were sprayed with hot water, doctors who were described as ‘murderers’, nurses who were verbally abused, Christians described as ‘mad people’, unemployed graduates referred to as ‘evil doers’, fishermen who were physically assaulted, farmers, women, the youth, and the people of Dagbon who were deceived by your promises will forever miss your ‘unprecedented achievements’. The tussle over your burial place goes to underscore how great and dear you were to Ghanaians. We shall forever miss your ‘Azonto’ dance at the airport.
May your gentle soul rest in perfect peace!
“Vision, coupled with persistency, results in true success”